Are you worried about what things to teach in the homeschool?
Don’t be! All you need is this list of six subjects. And you don’t even need to do it all every day!
I divide my children’s subjects into two parts:
- First, you have the skill subjects which should be done every day.
- Second, there are the content subjects which you can combine and cover only once or twice a week.
So let’s get started with the daily subjects.
Things to Teach in the Elementary Homeschool: Daily Subjects
1. Language arts
Language Arts consists of anything pertaining to reading and writing. This includes phonics, handwriting, spelling, grammar, narration, copy work, dictation, vocabulary, reading, and literature.
I doubt this is an exhaustive list simply because language arts has so many different pieces.
When you’re picking out your language arts curriculum for elementary kids, you can choose between pulling the separate pieces together or using one complete language arts curriculum.
Or you can piece your language arts curriculum together with a writing and grammar curriculum, spelling and vocabulary curriculum, and a reading or literature curriculum.
The advantage of pulling the separate pieces together allows you to put your children at their level for each topic.
Kids tend to be ahead at different levels in each topic. So you can personalize your child’s language arts to exactly their level.
However different curricula add different pieces together so you could end up with overlap or areas that are simply not covered.
And I’ve found this means that I’m dealing with a bunch of little pieces. Which I hate.
- It’s hard keeping track of all the pieces in a large family.
- I’m not worried about trying to keep the kids on their level for every single topic.
- Also, I’ve found having a few challenging pieces to language arts teaches the kids how to handle frustration while having easy topics makes them feel successful.
To keep my life simple and the kids happy, I use a combined language arts curriculum.
This means my language arts curriculum includes all the bits and pieces in one curriculum. It’s much easier than trying to piece language
Both are good methods to study language arts, so choose the one that works best for your family.
Math needs to be studied daily.
However often math curricula don’t have enough lessons for every single day of the school year. This is a blessing!
It gives you an opportunity to expand on ‘fun’ topics in math. Give your kids math puzzles, geometry, and measuring problems.
Pull out challenging problems that make your kids think.
Have key phrases that let kids know if it’s an addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problem.
Using challenging problems or math problems from different curriculum changes the wording which causes your kids to think.
And that’s what you want in math. For the kids to have to apply what they know.
The fewer days of math also gives you time to cover difficult concepts over two or three days. You never know which concept a child will have trouble with.
One kid will struggle with analog clocks while another quickly grasps the idea.
When my kids just don’t get the concept, I like to stop after ten minutes or so and let their subconscious work on the problem.
The next day, they’re like, “Oh. Now I get it!” But sometimes it takes another day or two.
So plan on studying math on a daily basis and take your time.
Mastery is more important than speed!
Latin is challenging, especially for moms who haven’t studied Latin themselves. This being the case, I prefer to start Latin after my kids are reading well. When they’re easily reading chapter books.
So I don’t start Latin until the 3rd or 4th grade.
There are some wonderful programs for younger kids if you want to start early. You can also use those programs with older kids for a gentle introduction.
Latin study has two parts to it.
- You have the memorization where you’re memorizing quotes, prayers, vocabulary, and chants. Chants are when kids conjugate Latin verbs and derive Latin nouns.
Do not count on your kids being diligent about reviewing their flashcards and chants daily. You must hover and ensure it’s done daily.
- Then you have the actual lesson and worksheets This is where kids actually learn Latin, conjugations, derivatives, and translation.
Plan to cover both memorization and the lesson during your daily time.
And remember, Festina Lente, or slow and steady wins the race, especially in Latin!
Things to Teach in the Homeschool: Weekly Subjects
The weekly subjects are studied once or twice a week. Personally, I prefer twice a week.
- History and geography are taught on Mondays and Wednesdays
- Science and nature are studied on Tuesdays and Thursdays
- Fine arts are studied on Fridays
4. History and Geography
The reason I group history and geography together is that most homeschooling programs combine history and geography into the lessons.
It’s also a major change from modern education which teaches social studies for several years. Instead, it’s folded into the study of history and geography.
No matter what age you’re starting at, begin your studies with the ancients.
History is one long story and it builds on itself. I favor a four-year cycle:
- Ancients are covered during the first year
- Middle Ages and Renaissance during the second year
- Early Modern history the third year
- Modern history the fourth year.
The kids and I sit down together and read through The Story of the World together.
The children listen to the stories while coloring the coloring page from the activity book. We run through the discussion questions together and do a short narration.
And then the kids and I complete map work.
We look at the physical features of the terrain and how the land affected people in the area.
As we reach the Modern area, we look at how people are currently living in those countries.
5. Science and Nature Study
Among the six things to teach in the homeschool are science and nature study. Science and nature study go hand in hand.
Some families favor nature study for the elementary years while others favor pure science.
But in either case, kids are studying the natural world. They’re studying biology, weather, geology, and oceanography.
Like history, I prefer to keep our study of science to a two day a week schedule. It gives us more time to devote to science.
The sequence which was outlined in the first editions of the Well-Trained Mind is biology, earth science and astronomy, chemistry, and physics.
The sequence works very well. most kids will have two times through the sequence before they hit the sciences at the high school level.
Other families prefer to cover all four sequences in one year rather than concentrating on one discipline for an entire year.
And other families will concentrate on nature study during the elementary years rather than pure science.
All three approaches work and work well.
The trick will be determining which one works best for you!
6. Fine Arts
On Fridays, I like to study fine arts.
And since Fridays tend to be a light day of homeschooling, it allows me plenty of time to pull out the art supplies and let the kids go hog wild.
We enjoy picture study, chalk pastels, and music appreciation. The kids and I can sit down and listen to music together or attend a concert.
Saving Fridays for a makeup day and the fine arts works very well.
Things to Teach in the Homeschool: The Schedule
Pulling your homeschool together is simple.
Language arts, math, and Latin are completed daily.
History and geography, science and nature study, and the fine arts are done once or twice a week.
Here’s what the schedule looks like:
- Monday: Language arts, math, Latin, history & geography
- Tuesday: Language arts, math, Latin, science & nature study
- Wednesday: Language arts, math, Latin, history & geography
- Thursday: Language arts, math, Latin, science & nature study
- Friday: Language arts, math, Latin, fine arts
Morning time is a time when you sit down with all your children to teach the content subjects.
Some families use a detailed morning time plan. I prefer to keep to a simple morning time with my kids.
It doesn’t matter. The point is that morning time helps you with these six things to teach in the homeschool
The idea is simple. In my family, we sit down together to read aloud great children’s literature together.
Then I cover the weekly subject of the day with the children.
It gives us time to gather, to enjoy each other’s company, and to study as a family.
Morning Time also keeps things simple as I’m teaching the children as a group.
You’ll need to sit down with each child daily to tutor them in the skill subjects.
Generally, I’ve found about 30 to 45 minutes is the length of the one-on-one time I need with each kid.
The reason is that young kids, who need you for everything, have short school days. Do a bit of handwriting, a little phonics and reading, and math.
And keep their school day down to 20-30 minutes.
As the kids get older, they’re able to complete more work independently.
For instance, I can count on my 2nd and 3rd graders to complete their math drill sheets, handwriting, and free reading by themselves.
I simply need to sit down and teach specific lessons.
And double-check to make certain everything has been done. Even the best student can try shortcuts once in a while and skip a tedious part of their schoolwork.
So as you’re creating your daily schedule, be sure to plan daily sit-down time with each of your kids.
Knowing what things to teach in the homeschool is simple if you keep these 6 subjects in mind.
Study language arts, math, and Latin on a daily basis. Study history & geography, science and nature study, and fine arts on a weekly basis.
And you’ll have the homeschool of your dreams by concentrating on these six things to teach in the homeschool.
- The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to a Classical Education at Home
- Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
- The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education